We don’t happen to agree with Eric Hovde on the issues. But we’ve been impressed by the Republican candidate’s willingness to pull the curtain back and reveal the dirty dealing that defines contemporary politics.
Hovde is running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate against former Gov. Tommy Thompson, former Congressman Mark Neumann and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald. After Americans for Job Security began running ads this week against him, Hovde called a foul.
“Thompson’s chief strategist and spokesman — Darrin Schmitz — lists notorious pay-for-play group Americans for Job Security as a client on his firm’s website,” declared a statement from the Hovde campaign, which went on to say: “The connection between the Thompson campaign and AJS smacks of illegal coordination. If Gov. Thompson cares at all about integrity or transparency, he will either stand behind these baseless attacks or call on AJS to disclose their donors.”
That’s exactly right. When candidates and campaigns coordinate with super PACs, they violate the law.
In a story on National Journal’s Hotline on Call, the Thompson campaign confirmed that Schmitz is working for Thompson but said that Schmitz’s company had not done any work for AJS for four years. The story also said that while Hotline on Call initially reported that AJS was spending $462,000 on TV ads, a GOP source tracking ad buys said the buy has been upped to $650,000.
We don’t know if Tommy Thompson and his aides have committed a crime. But we do know that “connections” to which Hovde refers are worthy of investigation.
As with Mitt Romney’s campaign, which has seen similar “connections,” the circumstances surrounding the Thompson campaign and the pro-Thompson super PAC demand an inquiry.
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